CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A federal jury delivered guilty verdicts Tuesday against four members of the street gang “La Mara Salvatrucha,” or “MS-13,” who were on trial for participating in a racketeering conspiracy, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
The convictions stem from the multiple acts of violence committed by the defendants for the benefit of the criminal enterprise, including murder and attempted murder.
Miguel Zelaya, 20, of Charlotte, Luis Ordonez-Vega, 36, of Concord,, Jorge Sosa, 24, of Charlotte, and William Gavidia, 23, of Kannapolis, were convicted of one count of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity.
Investigators said the men, along with 33 others, were members of the MS-13 gang, which is divided into cliques across North Carolina.
Zelaya was also convicted of murder in aid of racketeering and use or carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in the death of Jose Orlando Ibarra.
Ordonez-Vega was also convicted of murder in aid of racketeering and use or carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in the death of Noel Navarro Hernandez.
Sosa was convicted of attempted murder in aid of racketeering and use or carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, that being attempted murder in aid of racketeering.
Members of MS-13 in Charlotte participated in multiple meetings at various times to discuss gang-related matters and to plan the commission of future crimes for the benefit of the gang. They were also responsible for numerous criminal acts including murder and attempted murder, Westmoreland said.
Zelaya, a/k/a “Most Wanted” and “Ne Ne”, is a member of the “Coronados Little Cycos Salvatrucha” clique. On December 18, 2013, Zelaya shot and killed Jose Orlando Ibarra, an associate of a rival gang, “The Latin Kings.” According to trial evidence and testimony, Zelaya admitted to law enforcement that he shot Jose Ibarra because Ibarra owed him money for a gun and because Ibarra and his brother, a Latin King member, had been looking for one of Zelaya’s “homies” with a shotgun.
Ordonez-Vega, a/k/a “Big Boy,” is a self-admitted member of MS-13 from Nassau County, New York, and a member of the “Brentwood Locos Salvatrucha” clique. Ordonez-Vega has “MS” tattooed across his stomach and “La Mara Salvatrucha” tattooed across his chest. On June 6, 2013, Ordonez-Vega shot and killed Noel Navarro Hernandez in a strip mall parking lot in Charlotte. Evidence presented at trial showed that Ordonez-Vega and other MS-13 members targeted Navarro because they believed that Navarro was a rival gang member because of the way he talked, wore red, and his haircut.
Sosa, a/k/a “Koki” and “Loco” is a member of the “Charlotte Locotes Salvatrucha” clique. According to trial evidence, Sosa has been involved in multiple gang-related incidents on numerous occasions. For example, on February 1, 2008, Sosa flashed MS-13 gang hand signs at a rival gang member’s mother and pointed a handgun at her while they were stopped in traffic. On October 15, 2011, Sosa warned a man who asked him to leave a party that he would return with other MS-13 gang members to shoot the victim. Also, on July 5, 2013, Sosa and other MS-13 members tried to break into a vehicle then attempted to run over with a car the officers who tried to arrest them. And on June 30, 2013, Sosa was involved in a gang-related shooting, when he and another person followed their victims in a neighborhood in Charlotte and opened fire with a high caliber rifle.
Gavidia, a/k/a “Duro,” is also a member of the “Coronados Little Cycos Salvatrucha” clique. According to evidence presented at trial and witness testimony, Gavidia has carried out criminal acts in support of the gang and has often fought rival gang members in clubs. For example, Gavidia admitted that he taxed drug dealers in MS-13 dominated clubs. Gavidia was also involved in a shooting on August 11, 2013, when another MS-13 gang member and indicted co-conspirator, Albert Vela-Garcia, shot a victim in the back following a bar fight started by Gavidia. Gavidia has also attacked a victim for falsely claiming to be a member of MS-13.
Federal investigators said 30 of the 37 gang members charged have entered guilty pleas.
© 2018 Cox Media Group.